Houston Texans (6-5 SU, 5-5-1 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (5-6 SU, 5-5-1 ATS)
Week 13 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: HOU +6/GB -6
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The Houston Texans come into Lambeau on Sunday to face the Green Bay Packers. Houston is 6-5 following their second loss in a row to the San Diego Chargers at home on Sunday, 21-13. They continue to struggle offensively, yet still are hanging onto a precarious first-place lead in the AFC South with Tennessee and Indy closing in. They need to get back on the winning track in a tough place to play on Sunday at Lambeau Field, facing a Green Bay team that finally got on the right track on Monday Night Football with a 27-13 road win against the Eagles. After 4 straight losses before the MNF win, they are only 5-6, yet conceivably still in it with first-place Detroit at 7-4. Can they get the big win at Lambeau this week against an equally-desperate Texans team?
The Texans get a lot out of what they have. Despite two straight losses, they are still in first place and it's hard to explain why. Those teams can be dangerous. When looking at their team, it's hard to get excited. The secondary is good, the defensive front has held up nicely without JJ Watt wreaking havoc. And there are some good skill players on the other side of the ball. But the offense is wrought with issues and has been among the worst in the league. They've been blown out by good teams, while beating lesser teams by narrow margins. It's a strange equation—sometimes they seem worse than their record indicates and other times, they manufacture a lot more than you'd think considering what tools they have at their disposal.
Brock Osweiler was pretty bad on Sunday, throwing three picks and no touchdowns. He was able to connect decently with his main weapons—DeAndre Hopkins, speedy rookie Will Fuller, and TE CJ Fiedorowicz. But it only amounted to one TD, which Osweiler ran in from a yard out. They were at least playing well at home previously and looked to beat a sub-.500 San Diego team and were unable to do it, with the Bolts outplaying them across all areas. RB Lamar Miller was lukewarm with 57 yards on 19 carries. The Houston offense is 30th in passing offense and 29th in points scored with an average of just 17.6 a game. Watching them sometimes is a grind in itself, especially if you're betting on them and waiting for an offense that does have some tools to finally snap into gear.
The Houston secondary was a bit leaky, though they did their best in keeping Philip Rivers and the SD offense to just 21 points. It's not a part of the team that has gotten better over the course of the season. The heart of their line is gone with JJ Watt and though they've continued getting good play from guys like Benardrick McKinney, Whitney Mercillus, and others, their edge is not the same. The secondary, while usually robust, is now the only shining light on the team and even they're not infallible. The whole team has just looked very flat in recent weeks. Again, their point-scoring differential with 194 points scored and 236 allowed suggests anything but a first place team. And the Texans better start playing better, as the cows have come home to roost. But for all their ails, a lot of teams would like to be in first place right now.
The Packers looked a lot better on Monday, albeit against an Eagles team that has gotten sideways in recent weeks. A win is a win and they really needed one—in the midst of one of their worst swoons in recent seasons. They still have something to play for and need to make it happen now. That urgency seemed to resonate on MNF, as the Packers were able to pull away late for the big road win. Aaron Rodgers looked as good as he has in weeks and the defense held Philly to one TD and a pair of field goals on the night.
The Green Bay offense had been in a slump. Without a viable run-game with Eddie Lacy out of commission, they've taken to the air and finally made some headway on Monday. Rodgers threw for 313 yards on 30-for-39 passing with a pair of TD strikes. He also showed a livelier set of legs with some useful runs and in avoiding the pass-rush. We continue to see some improvement this season from WR Davante Adams, who had 113 yards and two TD grabs on Monday. Jordy Nelson also had a big day.
QUIT THROWING AWAY YOUR HARD EARNED LOOT! BET ON THE TEXANS VS. PACKERS GAME AT DISCOUNTED ODDS -105 TODAY AT 5DIMES
The Green Bay defense had also seen a drop in their production in recent weeks. A group that really looked to be coming together at times last season was lost at sea for a while, but collected itself well on Monday. The secondary made plays, with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix picking off his 3rd pass in 4 games. The front seven also got into Carson Wentz' face, with Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Mike Daniels, and Julius Peppers all registering sacks. If some of that playmaking can continue, this Packers defense can start helping the team. And through everything, they've remained pretty solid against the run, which could pose matchup issues for the Texans on the road this week.
The importance of this game is high for both teams. Houston losing two in a row, while Green Bay beat the struggling Eagles doesn't necessarily suggest that the Packers are better-primed to take on this late stage of the season. These teams both have traits that can cause problems for the opponent while also having weaknesses that can be exploited. I see Rodgers being hard to stop in this spot. I'm taking the Packers.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Green Bay Packers minus 6 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Houston vs. Green Bay game from your own home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!